Projected as the everyday center fielder for the Shorebirds, Cedric Mullins has done nothing to jeopardize his position on the squad. He unseated last year’s center fielder, Ademar Rifaela (who now spends most games over in right field) and is doing those things a prototypical center fielder does: bat leadoff, lead the team in stolen bases, and collect a fair share of extra base hits he’s legged out. Millins is tied for the team lead in triples with (surprisingly) catcher/DH Yermin Mercedes and trails only Mercedes in doubles. There’s no doubt Mercedes can hit a ball hard and far, but Mullins can find a gap and put himself in scoring position in a multitude of ways.
Mullins has also been consistent thus far in his career, trading a .264/2/32/.709 OPS slash line in 68 Aberdeen games last season for a .256/2/14/.726 OPS line this year. He’s already swiped 12 bases in 39 games (out of 14 attempts) putting him on pace to break his mark of 14 by midseason. A 13th round selection from Campbell University last year, the 21-year-old switch-hitter has the advantage of playing a few times a season in his birthplace of Greensboro, North Carolina. (So far, though, he is 0-for-9 there with five strikeouts and a walk in two games; he was a healthy scratch on Monday.)
But it seems like Mullins is, for the most part, doing the things he needs to do to continue moving up the ladder. At this point he has about a 2-to-1 ratio of strikeouts to walks, which is hindering his on-base percentage (it’s .326, which is right around league average but a few points below the Shorebirds’ mean – yet also consistent with his .333 mark for the IronBirds last season.) On the other hand, the walk-drawing machine D.J. Stewart has an OBP that is 164 points above his batting average, so if Mullins can just bring his K/BB numbers to be equal he would be a more definite offensive threat, with an OBP roughly 100 points above his batting average. (League average is about 75 points, so 100 points over would be exceptional.)
Thus far Mullins has been the solid-average player the Shorebirds seem to have a lot of this year as they compete for the first half SAL title. It may not get him accolades, but players have made good careers out of being consistent and dependable.